The Legend of Boggy Creek
The Legend of Boggy Creek is a 1972 horror docudrama about the "Fouke Monster", a Bigfoot-type creature that reportedly has been seen in and around Fouke, Arkansas since the 1940s. The film mixes staged interviews with some local residents who claim to have encountered the creature, along with reenactments of said encounters. Charles B. Pierce, an advertising salesman from Texarkana on the Arkansas/Texas state line, borrowed over $100,000 from a local trucking company, used an old 35mm movie camera and hired locals (mainly high school students) to help make the 85-minute film. The film has generated approximately $20 million in box office revenue and is available on DVD.
|The Legend of Boggy Creek|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Charles B. Pierce|
|Produced by||Charles B. Pierce|
|Written by||Earl E. Smith|
Chuck Pierce, Jr.
Willie E. Smith
|Music by||Jaime Mendoza-Nava|
|Cinematography||Charles B. Pierce|
|Edited by||Tom Boutross|
|Distributed by||Howco International Pictures|
|Box office||$20 million|
The film, which claims to be a true story, details the existence of the "Fouke Monster", a seven-foot-tall Bigfoot-like creature that has reportedly been seen by residents of a small Arkansas community since the 1940s. It is described as being completely covered in reddish-brown hair, leaving three-toed tracks and having a foul odor.
Several locals from the small town of Fouke, Arkansas recall their stories, often appearing as themselves, claiming that the creature has killed many large animals over the years. One farmer claims that the beast carried off two of his 200 lb. hogs with little effort, leaping a fence with the animals tucked under its arm. In one scene, a kitten is shown as having been "scared to death" by the creature. The narrator informs the audience that, while people have shot at the creature in the past, it has always managed to escape. In another sequence, hunters attempt to pursue the creature with dogs, but the dogs refuse to give chase. A police constable states that while driving home one night, the creature suddenly ran across the road in front of his car.
In a later sequence, culled from the actual newspaper accounts inspiring the film, the creature is shown menacing a family in a remote country house. After being fired upon, the creature attacks, sending one family member to the hospital.
The creature was never captured and is said to still stalk the swamps of southern Arkansas to this day.
It was the 10th highest-grossing film of 1972. Return to Boggy Creek and Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues were released to theaters later in 1977 and 1985, respectively. Neither of the sequels were as successful as the original film.
Both The Legend of Boggy Creek and Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues have been released on VHS several times. Between 2002 and 2011, Hen's Tooth Video, Education 2000 Inc., Sterling Entertainment, Unicorn Video, RHR Home Video, Cheezy Flicks Entertainment and Film Trauma all released The Legend of Boggy Creek on Region 1 DVD. The DVD versions have been notoriously low quality, most of them seemingly taken from VHS editions and all of them were 'Pan and Scan' transfers rather than the movie's proper widescreen presentation. For years, The Legend of Boggy Creek was in the public domain and all DVD releases were unofficial. However, Pamula Pierce Barcelou, daughter of director Charles B. Pierce, regained control of the movie in 2018 when Steve Ledwell of Ledwell & Son assigned her copyright of both The Legend of Boggy Creek and another Pierce film, Bootleggers. Mr Ledwell's father, L.W., helped finance The Legend of Boggy Creek, which found also success as a low-budget, drive-in creature feature.
The Legend of Boggy Creek will receive its first official release on DVD and Blu-Ray from the new 4k restoration of the original camera negative in December 2019.
Ahead of the home video release, the restored print received its theatrical premier at the historic Perot Theater, Texarkana, TX on June 14, 2019 with additional screenings at select theaters nationwide.
The Legend of Boggy Creek was restored/remastered at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York, & Audio Mechanics, Burbank, California, using many of the original elements.
The film premiered at the historic Perot Theatre, Texarkana, Texas, on Friday, June 14, 2019. Additional showings began at midnight, June 15, and continued through Sunday, June 16 (Charles B. Pierce Day in Texarkana, Arkansas and Texas).
The next screening took place in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 5 at The Colonial Theatre, world-famous for another movie monster in the shape of the 1958 science fiction-horror classic, The Blob, starring a young Steve McQueen. Scenes from the widescreen color shocker were filmed at the Colonial and at other spots in and around Phoenixville.
Additional screenings followed at select theaters nationwide.
This would be the movie's first official theatrical release in nearly fifty years, and finally restores the motion-picture to its proper, wide-angle, 35mm (Techniscope) format, to once again captivate audiences, and saving the quintessential Bigfoot film.
An original motion soundtrack release for The Legend of Boggy Creek is in production. Featuring music by Jaime Mendoza-Nava and utilizing newly discovered elements, it is slated for release late 2019/early 2020.
The Legend of Boggy Creek received generally favorable reviews upon its initial release.
"... Scene after scene of almost pristine wilderness is a visual feast ... its sheer honest ... rigid adherence to authenticity ... is highly persuasive that there is indeed, a “Fouke Monster.” It's scary and charming ..." Arkanssas Gazette, Little Rock
"... visually stunning and exciting ... Pierce manages to create a sense of foreboding that brings audiences up sharply ..." Goff, Daily Variety.
"... the film captures the eerie beauty of Arkansas’ primeval swamps and contains images of Southern American backwoods life unmatched in its rich rustic flavor since Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story ... Pierce's photography accents the Arkansas swampland's incredible beauty and unsettling mystery ... an unusual blend of malevolence and melancholia ... eminently successful in giving the imagination a good healthy jolt and in ultimately celebrating the unfathomable mysteries of nature ..." Glenn Lovell, Hollywood Reporter.
A number of projects are currently planned to mark the 50th Anniversary of the movie's original release in 2022.
Originally titled The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek Part II, Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues involved Pierce and was written as an official sequel to the original film, thus the reason for styling the title as "II" instead of "III". It follows the adventures of a University of Arkansas professor (Pierce) and his students, one of which is Pierce's son, on their trip to Fouke, Arkansas, to find and study the creature. A few scenes in the beginning of the movie were shot at the university, including an Arkansas Razorbacks football game. The movie was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The "Big Creature" in the film was portrayed by James Faubus Griffith, a Hollywood stuntman, actor and bodyguard.
The success of The Legend of Boggy Creek prompted filmmakers to attempt their own type of Creature Feature with varying degrees of quality and success, including Creature from Black Lake, The Legend of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot, The Mysterious Monsters, Snowbeast, Abominable, The Wild Man of the Navidad etc.
Its influence on the docudrama genre has been widely acknowledged, being one of the first movies to distinguish itself from a film merely "based on true events" by showing real participants and locations.
Return to Boggy Creek (1977)
Return to Boggy Creek did not involve Charles B. Pierce in any respect, but was directed by Tom Moore. The film carries over none of the original's docudrama elements. It stars Dawn Wells of Gilligan's Island fame and Dana Plato of Diff'rent Strokes. Wells portrays the mother of three children who become lost in the swamp until the creature comes to their rescue.
Boggy Creek | Boggy Creek: The Legend Is True (2010)
Despite the title, this film's story is unrelated to the original movie. It deals with a Bigfoot-like creature attacking a group of teenagers that are vacationing in the fictional area of Boggy Creek, Texas. The film was written and directed by Brian T. Jaynes. It was originally produced in 2010 and released straight to DVD on September 13, 2011.
The Legacy of Boggy Creek (2011)
This extremely low-budget indie film was originally released in 2009 under the title The Skunkape Story, but was later re-edited and released to home video in 2011 as The Legacy of Boggy Creek. Despite efforts to claim association with the original movie, to the point of using music from its soundtrack, this poorly made cash-in short movie is in no way connected with the Pierce Estate or the original motion picture
- "Charles B. Pierce, Director of 'Boggy Creek,' Dies at 71". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 10, 2010. p. B18. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "The Legend of Boggy Creek, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "All-Time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976, pg. 48.
- "Top Grossing Films of 1972". Listal.com.
- "Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues...". Mystery Science Theater 3000. Season 10. Episode 6. May 9, 1999. Sci-Fi Channel.
- Myrick, Dan (July 1999). "An Exclusive Interview with Dan Myrick, Director of 'The Blair Witch Project'" (Interview). Interviewed by Caretaker. Internet Zombie Productions. Retrieved April 13, 2013.